Sarasota in the 1950s was a small community graced with an alluring natural beauty. What set it apart from so many Florida beachfront towns was the concentration of artists, writers, and architects who gathered there--including author MacKinley Kantor and architects Paul Rudolf and Ralph Twitchell--a unique confluence of talented and daring architects coupled with a hip crowd willing to take risks. Sarasota was a place in which innovation and experimentation were the order of the day, a place where an architect might run into the local watering hole to shout: "I just invented the sliding glass door." Such was the confluence of art and architecture that laid the groundwork for the Sarasota School of Architecture, so named after the fact by architect Gene Leedy at an American Institute of Architecture (AIA) conference in the 1980s to refer to the unique architecture of this region, an architecture that is wonderfully responsive to Sarasota's sub-tropical environment and which has achieved international importance for its beauty, intelligence, and style. Today, Sarasota's treasures are being rediscovered by lovers of innovative architecture, who are buying and restoring these prized homes; but also, unfortunately, by developers, who are recklessly knocking them down. Sarasota Modern, the first book of its kind to focus exclusively on this vibrant community, offers the reader an intimate look into the stunning houses as they are lived in today.
Andrew Weaving is an expert on 20th-century architecture, furniture, and design. He was co-author of Living with Mid-Century Style, among others, and owns a 1956 Sarasota School house in Winter Haven designed by Gene Leedy. He lives in London.